Not Single Anymore

The CD single is in terminal decline, thanks to digital downloads. High street retailer Woolworths - who sell more CD singles than any other retailer - have announced that they'll be clearing their shelves of the shiny round things in plastic cases (and sometimes irritating card sleeves).
At the height of the format's popularity 78 million singles were sold in Great Britain. That was 1999. In 2007, only 8 million singles sold and this year it's down by a third on 2007 figures. Woolworths stress that sales of CD albums are "alive and well".
But it isn't all the consumer's fault. When I started buying music in 1995, singles were more often than not loaded with anything from three to nine tracks (and sometimes more). Now, with dance music these were usually remixes of variable quality, but in the case of R&B and pop, a single often came with a handful of other tracks, often not found on the album itself - particularly in the UK. But in the last five years or so, CD singles have had little extra to offer, more often than not offering up a paltry two or three tracks for half the price of a full album. Record companies and retailers must think we're mugs.
The DVD single didn't catch on.
It's a sad day for music - a physical product replaced by a stream of nerdy bytes. No more cool cover art, rare B-sides, remixes, multiple collector versions, rummaging in second hand stores... Just a bleak, joyless future of mouse clicks, saved files, software crashing - music reduced to data.
Just don't come crying to me when your computer loses everything you've got in the blink of an eye.

Solider Boy Tell 'Em

The news is awash with stories of injustice being perpetrated against gays, like Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announcing that any gays caught in Gambia will have their heads lopped off, or the Christian registrar in London who's refused to perform same-sex civil partnerships and is taking Islington council to court.

Here at the ka-os blog we like our daily dose of injustice to come with a pretty face, so today, boys and girls, we're going to focus on the case of former Lance Corporal Chris Kenna, who claims the army booted him out after his wife outed him (hell hath no fury and all that...)

“Being gay has made no difference to my effectiveness as a soldier. When I completed the SAS course I was the proudest guy alive. To pull on the beret means you are the best part of the finest fighting force in the world,” our sexy soldier told the News of the World.

Army sources have denied pushing him out, claiming he wasn't suitable for "that line of work" - despite two years in the SAS with tours of Iraq under is belt (and a lot more besides, I bet).

“We can confirm that a Royal Signals soldier asked to leave the Army and was subsequently discharged,” say the MoD. “The Armed Forces regard sexual orientation as a private-life matter. The Armed Forces operates a policy of zero tolerance of harassment or discrimination.”

C4 Rapped For Orgy Poster

The Advertising Standards Agency has rapped Channel 4 over the knuckles for a poster advertising its drama Skins.
The ASA said: "We considered that the image, showing characters from the programme embracing in varying states of undress, implied that an orgy was taking place. We concluded that the poster could cause serious or widespread offence to those who saw it and was unsuitable to be used in a medium where it could be seen by children."
The regulator rejected complaints that the poster depicted underage sex. Channel 4's defense was that the characters depicted in the poster were all over eighteen.
That's good then, and not at all a case of a major corporation selling the concept of kiddie sex to the masses in order to flog its wares.
The solution? Advertising gurus + firing squad = a better society.

Not The Only Gay In The (African) Village

Every now and then, the producers of EastEnders or Coronation Street decide to provoke some controversy (and boost the ratings) by throwing a gay kiss into the mix. It's almost always between two middle class white men (rather than confuse the audience they like to keep things simple - a black gay would be too much for Mrs Smith of Sussex).

Things are a bit different in South Africa. The soap Rhythm City has provoked some controversy with a kiss between the characters Stone (Zenzo Ngqobe) and Thula (Wright Ngubeni), whose mother has been struck down with HIV. Thula is selling his body to a married man; his best friend Stone finds out and confronts him, then plants a sexy kiss on Thula.

Well, it all sounds pretty good to me. Actor Zenzo Ngqobe, who appeared in the film Tsotsi , had this to say: “Personally, I think it wasn’t too graphic. In their subtle way, the producers did their bit to open a window for the audience to what homosexuality is about. Most fans were happy with that scene.”

Right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies.

London has a new mayor, and he's both racist and homophobic. Here's some of the well-documented comments our new mayor, Boris Johnson, has made in the past:

"Right, let's go and look at some more piccaninnies." The Observer, 2003. Remark made to Unicef workers and their black driver in Uganda.

"It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies." Daily Telegraph, 2002.

"I'm down with the ethnics. You can't out-ethnic me." BBC Asian Network, 2008.

"Gay marriage can only ever be a ludicrous parody of the real thing." Daily Telegraph, 2005.

"The clerics gave us [journalists] a wigging for being so mean to the Church of England ... Why did we draw attention to tricky subjects like homosexuality, aka the Pulpit Poofs issue?" The Spectator, 2000.

"I will add Papua New Guinea to my global itinerary of apology." After suggesting the country was known for "chief-killing and cannibalism".

London, hang your head in shame. You make me sick.

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